Sunday, June 7, 2015

Turbans! Turbans! Turbans! (Photo Shoot)

I'm back for another quick, catch-up post. Back in April I spent a day hanging out with Lynn McMasters to model for her. She was (or still is) working on a pattern for turbans for various time periods. She has lots of friends who model for her millinery, including, on occasion, me.

If you follow Lynn on Facebook at her page, "Out of a Portrait" you've seen this photos before, as well as pics of her other fabulous models and hats. If you're a member of Facebook and don't follow Lynn, scoot on over there and follow here to get the scoop on her up-and-coming hat patterns.

Turban No. 1:

This one is based on a late 18th century headdress. I can't recall the name or artist of the portrait that Lynn used as a model. The outfit was provided by me.




Turban No. 2:

Jumping forward over a century, I don't recall what time period Lynn attaches to this turban, but given the hairstyle she probably means


Turban No. 3:

Still in the Jazz Age. This one features a fun sash and crazy feathers. Lynn made the dress.



Turban No. 4:

1920s or '30s. This one came in two pieces. The "dress" is one of my favorite sari's, creatively wrapped.



Lastly: this is not a turban, but Lynn needed photos of this really cool, lace-brim hat.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

MakeFashion at Maker Faire

Hello! I'm here! Yes, I'm still alive. Just popping in for a quick post (hopefully the first of many).

Last weekend I went to Maker Faire for the first time, to model a dress made by my good friends at Amped Atelier (that's a link to their Twitter feed), Sahrye and Hal. This was for the MakeFashion fashion show. MakeFashion is one of the groups that regularly participate in things like Maker Faire.

Frankly, I was a little terrified. I'd never walked on a runway before. But the MakeFashion folks were very cool, organized, and prepared, the models and designers were fun, and in the end I just relaxed and had a good time. And besides, anything for a friend.

Photos and video should eventually be uploaded at the MakeFashion website. As of today, I believe you can see a video that includes the dress, worn by the lady who modeled it in Calgary.

You can find Sahrye and Hal on Twitter @ampedatelier, and also on Instagram.

Sahrye also blogs over at It Came from the Stash.

On the runway, during the closing.
The dress came in two pieces, the turquoise and black sheath dress underneath and the hoopskirt that went over. Multi-color LEDs lit up the deep vee neckline, and also went down the back. The hem of the hoopskirt featured a scrolling marquee.

Amazingly, the dress fit just about right, even with my odd dimensions.

I also want to point out the two ladies in the background of the photo above. The one in yellow had two prosthetic lower legs, and the one on the right had one. The prosthetic were  beautifully carved, and lit up from the inside. Not only was that just NEAT, these two women just worked the crowed like you wouldn't believe. They were AWESOME.

Outside, in daylight.
My makeup and hair were by Sahrye and our good buddy Mia. It featured a LOT of glue-on rhinestones, and glitter, yes glitter, painted on my lips. Looked great under the runway lights.

The dress was quite a hit. After the second show, two different people came up to me and asked where they could get one.

Wish I had more pics, but unfortunately I wasn't behind the camera this time. Hopefully soon we'll see some official pics from the MakeFashion folks.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

New York Society Tea 2014

Yesterday the Greater Bay Area Costumer's Guild hosted its not-quite-annual New York Society Tea at The Palace Hotel, San Francisco. This event is often also called the Bustle Tea, since the time frame is late Victorian. No fewer than two of my sewing buddies have birthdays between Christmas and New Years, and both of them wanted to be costumed for their birthdays. So we decided to make this year's tea a bit of a birthday party.

An afternoon spent with my gal pals, in costume, is always a blast, even more so after going nuts for weeks on end getting a new frock ready. More on that later.

But who wants to read me talking? Just enjoy the photos!

The two birthday girls, Ms. G and Sahrye.
Noelle and Mia.
Ms. D and Ms. H.
Total attendance was something near 50.
Mr. Hal and your friendly neighborhood blogger.
Birthday girl, Sahrye.

You may recognize Sahrye's dress as Mina Harker's dress from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Sahrye did an awesome version of the dress. She blogs over at It Came From the Stash! Head over there to read more about this fantastic dress.

I love Mia's dress above for how absolutely period it looks. Small wonder, here's the dress she used as a model:
Victorian Wedding Dress  Date: 1879 Culture: American Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Thomas W. Hotchkiss, 1939
Dress, 1879, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


Ms. H provides our obligatory anachronistic moment.
Tea was followed by shenanigans in the bar.
Lastly, here's yours truly.

More chit-chat on this dress (and what is up with my hair) will come later. Right now I need to rescue my house from multiple weeks of frantic sewing.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Button Confessions

I confess: I love covered buttons.

Well, truthfully, I love all fussy, hand made buttons. But since I have an embroidery machine, covered buttons are the easiest for me to make quickly.

Here's a set I stitched up last weekend:

Embroidered covered buttons, ready to cut out. I made more than I think I need because there was space in the hoop. And it never hurts to have spare.
My plan was to make these up using the technique I learned from Nancy Nehring and her book, but I only had twelve period accurate bone button molds. In the above photo you can see that I planned for twenty buttons. So I got a bunch of who-cares-what-they-look-like, slightly domed plastic buttons and went to town. Best to save my bone molds for when the center hole matters.

Instead of more authentic bone molds, I used cheap plastic buttons to cover.
I've used the packaged covered button kits in the past, with both fantastic and disastrous results. The old-fashioned technique, though, has given me consistent results, so I stuck with that.

Clip, clip, stitch, stitch. These go together pretty quick, for me at least.
It took me less than a day (stitching around my full time job) to make all 26 buttons.

Seriously awesome, right? And really easy.

These buttons are going onto my current project, which is getting its first wearing at the GBACG New York Society Tea next weekend. A full post on the outfit will come. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Early 20th Century Fat Bottom Purses

OK, I confess, I'm a lazy blogger.

I haven't posted in a while, not because I've been too busy to craft, but because I just haven't felt like it. I know, terrible. In fact, I've been ding quite a lot of crafting, mostly knitting and on and off mad sewing.

Here's something I finished since my last post: a pair of silk clasp purses that I've assigned to the early 20th century.

Silk purses with brass clasps and chains.
I got it into my head to make a clasp purse over -- *ahem* -- two and a half years ago. I need more period hand bags, and I hadn't made a purse on a frame before.

They're shaped with a fat bottom to accommodate plenty of stuff.
I was enamoured with a fat bottom shape, and made these large enough for my on-the-large-side phone.

It fits a sub-phablet phone in a bulky case.
Of course the clasp had to be big enough, too.
Yes, my phone is a Tardis. It's bigger on the inside.
So, I bought the materials and embroidered the sides, and (like many of my projects) put them aside.

Fast forward to last fall, and I'm trying to clear off my work table. I finally sat down and threw these together. Though after so long, and despite having the pattern I drew handy, I forgot that I had given them a 3/8" seam allowance. So, well, their shape is not exactly what I had intended.

Exterior is duchess silk. Interior is taffeta. Brass frame and chain, rayon embroidery, glass beads.
The outsides are duchess silk and the insides are taffeta. The clasp and chain are brass and the embroidery is rayon.


The one without the fringe is going to Lynn McMasters, who made the beaded fringe.

One unfinished project done, umpteen more to go!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Thrifty Woman's Yarn Workshop

A handful of folks saw me at Costume College plying yarn with my homemade drop spindle.
A drop spindle made from things you can find around the house (well, my house, anyway).
Now, I have a very nice, wooden drop spindle, but it has yarn on it that I don't want to take off yet. So I needed second spindle. I made one using these instructions, though I didn't want to hunt for the plastic grommet, so I hot glued the disks in place (I glued one disc on at a time, letting the glue cool a little first, and spun the dowel while the glue was cooling, to keep the dowel centered and the glue even).

Once I plied all the yarn, I needed to get it off the spindle so that it could get a quick wash to set the twist. I don't know if this next tool has a name; it's a box with holes and slots cut in to hold the spindle while I pulled the yarn off.

Spindle holder? Spool winder? Spinny thing? I don't know what to call this box-with-holes cut in.
Lastly, here's my...well, let's be honest, this is the GHETTO-est yarn swift ever. It's a box on a small lazy susan. 

The ghetto-est yarn swift ever.
Oh wait, one more tool was involved. I don't have a yarn winder, so I hand wind on a nostepinne. Except that I don't have a nostepinne, I use a clean chopstick.
My "winding stick" (a chopstick).
I'll show you later what I actually made from this yarn (which I was also carrying around with me at Costume College).

Now, for the yarnies that are still with me, here's a treat: I was at the Whaling Museum in Nantucket just recently, and found these beautiful, whalebone yarn swifts.

Whalebone yarn swift at the Whaling Museum in Nantucket.
It's such a delicate thing, can you imagine it being actually used to wind yarn? Moreover, can you imagine the labor to make this thing (each strut is ornamented) and the feelings of the woman who would have received it? She had better have been gratified.

The museum had a couple of whalebone swifts.

Whalebone objects at the Whaling Museum in Nantucket.
These were displayed with several whalebone knitting needles, sewing clamps, and some other objects that I didn't take note of. These objects are made from bone and not baleen, which is the "whalebone" used for corsetry. I saw some samples of unprocessed baleen, but didn't get a photo.

And of course, one can't discuss objects made from whalebone without mentioning BUSKS.

Whalebone busks. The darker one might be baleen, I didn't read the label.
The museum has managed to get a hold of quite a few beautifully carved busks.
The Whaling Museum is very nicely done. A lot of time (and money, probably) has gone into the displays, and there are some very nice talks (though skip the movie, it's heavy on "isn't this island great" and way to light on history and facts; the presentation on the history of whaling was VERY good, however). If you happen to be on Nantucket Island, I recommend a visit.